In this post we will look at the permission settings within a general channel in Teams, how this relates to an org-wide team, plus channel moderation!
- What’s an org-wide team?
- The general channel, permissions & moderation
- How to add a channel & set up moderation
- How to restrict permissions to the general channel
Before diving into this post, it’s worth calling out that channel permissions and moderation are not limited to just org-wide teams, they are available to any team you create. My brief was to limit the ability to post in an org-wide team to just owners, so I figured I would write this in the context of org-wide teams as it would be a common use case for many organisations!
What’s an org-wide team?
For those new to Teams, an org-wide team is something you can create that will automatically all users in your organisation. Microsoft defines it as:
Org-wide teams provide an automatic way for everyone in a small to medium-sized organization to be a part of a single team for collaboration.Create an org-wide team in Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Teams Documentation
You can have up to five org-wide teams as part of your tenancy, but will need to be a global admin to create them. As part of a recent roll out of Teams, we created a private team which was later converted to an org-wide team. Here’s a post I wrote about creating new teams where I added some thoughts on org-wide teams.
The General channel, permissions & moderation
If you already have an org-wide team created, the next step may be to restrict or moderate who and what can be posted within the channels in the org-wide team. Sounds simple enough right?
#1 you can’t moderate the general channel
So if your first thought is to have an open-ish org-wide team where anyone can add posts or replies in a moderated fashion, think again! Unless you have already created bespoke teams templates to avoid this issue, your org-wide team will be using the default general channel which cannot use channel moderation.
So that leaves two options, either create a new channel that can be moderated, leaving the general tab unused or manage the permissions of the general channel.
#2 you can’t delete or hide the general channel
If you do decide that a new, moderated channel is the best way to go you will be left with a potentially unwanted general channel. This can be problematic for a few reasons, namely:
- You can’t delete the general channel
- You can’t rename the general channel
- You can’t hide the general channel or change the order of the channels to move it down
There is a UserVoice request to remove or rename the general channel here that Microsoft will respond to if a request gains enough traction.
How to add a new channel and set up moderation
If you do decide to go ahead and create a new channel for your team to apply moderation, here’s how to do it.
Add a new channel
- Press the ellipsis … next to the channel name > Add new channel
- Give the channel a name and description
- Set the privacy of the channel
- Standard – accessible to everyone in the team
- Private – accessible to a specific group of people in the team
- Tick to automatically show the channel in everyone’s lists (optional)
- Press Add
Turn on channel moderation
- Select your newly created channel, press the ellipsis … next to the channel name > manage channel
- In channel settings, under permissions > set channel moderation to on
- The default channel moderators are the team owners, press manage to change this and select the individual(s) required
- Turn the following check-boxes on or off as desired (on by default):
- Allow members to reply to channels
- Allow bots to submit channel messages
- Allow connectors to submit channel messages
What does an end-user see?
So with all the out-of-the-box options switched on as above, only moderators can start new posts, but members can reply to channel messages.
When a user navigates to the moderated channel, they see the following message:
However, when a moderator adds a post, this is what an end-user sees:
How to restrict permissions in the general channel
Microsoft recommend you only allow team owners to post in the general channel, and switch off @team and @[team name] mentions in an org-wide team. Here’s how to do it:
Restrict permissions to post in the general channel
- Press the ellipsis … next to the general channel name > manage channel
- Under channel settings, permissions you have the following options:
- Anyone can post
- Anyone can post; show alert that posting will notify everyone (recommended for large teams)
- Only owners can post messages
- Select only owners can post messages
Switch off @team and @[team name] mentions
- Press the ellipsis … next to the team name > manage team
- Press the settings tab > expand @mentions
- There are two options checked:
- Show members the option to @team or @[team name] (this will send a notification to everyone on the team)
- Give members the option to @channel or @[channel name]. This will notify everyone who’s shown the mentioned channel in their channel lists.
- Untick both options
What does an end-user see?
So much like with channel moderation, users are notified when post restrictions are in place in the general channel:
Although unable to post replies with this restriction in place, users are still able to add reaction emoji’s to posts, which are visible too all in the org-wide team.
You can edit the policies and settings within the Teams admin center to manage GIFs, stickers and memes, but you cannot turn off reaction emojis. There is a UserVoice request here to add the functionality.